The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

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1:10 p.m. ET, November 3, 2019

Trump on potential Bolton testimony: "Up to him and up to the lawyers"

From CNN’s Jeremy Diamond


President Trump said it is up to his former National Security Adviser John Bolton and "the lawyers" if he is going to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. 

Bolton has been in talks with the House committees investigating Trump about giving his testimony about US policy toward Ukraine. Other witnesses have already testified that Bolton had concerns about US security aid to Ukraine being withheld amid pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats. 

Ahead of Bolton's potential testimony, the President -- who fired Bolton in an early September tweet -- proclaimed to "like John Bolton" and to have "always got along with him." 

"I like John Bolton. I always got along with him, but that’s going to be up to him," Trump said of Bolton potentially testifying.

Bolton and Trump did not always get along and their relationship soured in the final months of Bolton's tenure, leading to his dismissal.

12:24 p.m. ET, November 3, 2019

Kellyanne Conway says "I don't know" if Trump held up Ukraine military aid

From CNN's Chandelis Duster

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said this morning that she does not know if President Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine, but stood by the White House's response that there was no quid pro quo between the President and the country.

Her comments come after the House passed an impeachment resolution outlining procedures moving forward in its impeachment inquiry into the President centered on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A whistleblower complaint alleges the President pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Trump has denied any wrongdoing

Conway told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday there was "no quid pro quo in this call in terms of the President" when asked about the foreign aid.

"President Trump never said to the Ukrainian President 'do this and you'll get your aid.' It is simply not here," she said.

But when pressed on what happened after the July call between Trump and Zelensky, and if she felt confident there was no quid pro quo, Conway said she did not know.

12:19 p.m. ET, November 3, 2019

Lawyer says whistleblower is willing to answer written questions from Republicans

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower at the center of the ongoing impeachment inquiry says he offered to have Republicans on the House Intelligence Community submit questions to his client directly without having to go through the committee's Democratic majority, CBS News is reporting.

According to CBS, Zaid said he contacted Representative Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Saturday to say his client is willing to answer Republicans' questions under oath and penalty of perjury if lawmakers submitted written questions to the whistleblower's legal team.

Previously, the whistleblower had offered to answer questions under oath and in writing if submitted by the House Intelligence Committee as a whole. This new offer would be a direct channel of communication with the Republicans who are in the minority on that committee. Republican leadership has complained that the process is unfair and overly restrictive on their ability to question witnesses, CBS said. 

Zaid said the offer underscores his client's desire to ensure his complaint is handled in a nonpartisan way, CBS said.

11:17 a.m. ET, November 3, 2019

Kellyanne Conway claims asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is “not impeachable”

From CNN's Alison Main

On CNN’s "State of the Union" this morning, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the President, would not say whether it was appropriate for President Trump to ask a foreign power to look into his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Conway tried to invoke suspicions about the Bidens and said the former vice president should face scrutiny as he runs for president. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden. She also said Joe Biden is not a top political rival of Trump, bringing up an instance of Biden misspeaking on the campaign trail in Iowa.

When pressed further on the issue by host Dana Bash, Conway contended that asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is “not impeachable” and repeatedly denied that there was a quid pro quo related to Ukrainian military aid.

When asked about the US holding up military aid from Ukraine, Conway continually answered that Ukrainians now have aid from the US. However, when asked if there was a time when aid was held up because Trump wanted Ukraine to look into the Bidens, Conway answered “I don’t know, but I know they’ve got their aid.” Later in the exchange, Bash asked Conway point blank about a quid pro quo related to the military aid, to which Conway answered she didn’t know “whether aid was being held up or for how long.”

Conway denied that Trump’s assertion that “Never Trumpers” were “human scum” applied to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, although the President has called Vindman a “Never Trumper.” Conway said she would “never disparage the patriotism or the public service” of Vindman, but then called his interpretation of the July 25 phone call into question.

Bash also asked Conway about newly released memos from the Mueller investigation obtained by CNN detailing former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s efforts to push a conspiracy blaming Ukraine for 2016 election hacking, despite the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russians were to blame.

Conway said she trusts US intelligence officials, but when asked by Bash if this means she thinks the Russians were responsible, Conway answered “who cares.”

As for the President’s beliefs on the matter, Conway repeated Trump’s rhetoric calling into question whether Russia, Ukraine, or a “guy in New Jersey” were responsible for “interference overall.” She later said the President “has great faith in the U.S. intelligence community” and did not go any further on whether Trump believes Russia was responsible for 2016 election interference.

Watch the moment:

10:10 a.m. ET, November 3, 2019

White House aide refusing to testify was on the Trump-Ukraine call when Mulvaney wasn't

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Robert Blair is a senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Robert Blair is a senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry are hoping to hear from Robert Blair, an assistant to President Trump and senior adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, though that looks unlikely considering Blair's attorney said he has refused to testify in the probe.

The House committees investigating Trump had scheduled Blair's deposition for Monday.

Blair -- who was on the line during Trump's July call with Ukraine's President -- was requested to testify about White House policy toward Ukraine.

"Mr. Blair is caught between the assertions of legal duty by two coequal branches of government, a conflict which he cannot resolve," Blair's attorney Whit Ellerman told CNN on Saturday.

Blair has not yet received a subpoena, but Ellerman said Blair will still refuse to testify if he is subpoenaed.

Blair, who was associate director for national security programs in the Office of Management and Budget, followed Mulvaney in January to the White House when Mulvaney became acting chief of staff. Mulvaney made Blair an assistant to the President. Blair serves as Mulvaney's senior adviser for national security issues.

Blair's hiring allowed Mulvaney to have a hand in national security issues without having to go through former White House national security adviser John Bolton. After Bolton was fired, one administration official said that Blair could be a favorite to replace Bolton because of his support from Mulvaney.

Blair was one of just a small group of officials on the line during Trump's controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mulvaney was not.

During the July 25 call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden -- despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe Biden or his son, Hunter, in Ukraine.

The phone call was part of a whistleblower's complaint that alleged Trump sought "to solicit interference" from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied doing anything improper.

10:04 a.m. ET, November 3, 2019

President Trump calls on the whistleblower to "come forward"

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

President Trump took to Twitter this morning to criticize the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry and demand that the person "come forward."

Trump claims the "Fake News Media knows" who the whistleblower is and doesn't want to reveal the person's identity because "there would be hell to pay."

The tweet comes after Democrats and Republicans got into a shouting match behind closed doors Tuesday while interviewing a witness in the impeachment investigation, with Democrats accusing Republicans of trying to out the anonymous whistleblower, according to five sources from both parties.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff objected to a line of questioning from Republicans during the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council official in charge of Ukraine policy, charging that the GOP questions were part of an effort to out the whistleblower, sources said.

Republicans pushed back, arguing they were simply asking questions about who Vindman might have spoken with — and that it was not an effort to out the whistleblower.

Fight over whistleblower rights: Once the deposition began, tensions quickly ratcheted up over the identity of the whistleblower. One Democratic lawmaker said that Schiff told lawmakers the whistleblower had the statutory right to anonymity, which is what prompted GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina to interject.

Schiff told him that when he was finished, he could speak, the source said. Meadows responded that he read the statute, and the whistleblower had no right to anonymity.

Meadows argued that the whistleblower had a right to protection from retribution, but not a right to anonymity, according to the source, which prompted Schiff to respond that the committee would not allow that line of questioning.

Read Trump's tweet below:

CNN's Manu RajuJeremy HerbLauren Fox and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.

8:05 a.m. ET, November 3, 2019

6 key developments in the Trump impeachment inquiry

JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Here are the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump:

  • Subpoenas issued: The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer on the White House’s National Security Council, and Brian McCormack, the former chief of staff to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, according to a source familiar with the matter.
  • Rick Perry: Energy Secretary Rick Perry will not participate in a closed-door deposition with impeachment investigators but would consider testifying in an open hearing, according to the Department of Energy.
  • New polls: Two new polls show Americans are divided on the impeachment inquiry. A poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune found that Texas voters were about evenly split over whether Trump should be removed from office before the end of his term. The Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Americans are split along party lines on whether to impeach and remove Trump.
  • White House goes on defense: White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the ongoing impeachment inquiry "a sham and a kangaroo court" in an interview with Fox News this morning. She said Democrats were "unhinged" and described the ongoing probe "unjust and unfair."
  • House on recess: Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN the House recess, which will go through Nov. 11, will not impede their investigation. Schiff said some of the transcripts of the closed-door interviews could be made public as early as next week. 
  • More details emerge: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, testified this week that he was told not to talk with anyone about the July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, according to a source familiar with the testimony. Tim Morrison, the President's top Russia adviser who also testified this week, told lawmakers he tried to find out whether Trump told a key US diplomat he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, multiple sources familiar with his closed-door impeachment inquiry deposition on Capitol Hill told CNN.